From Frank Gehry's MasterClass

Generating Ideas

Sometimes the best ideas begin as the craziest ideas. Frank shares a few of his tips for exploring the crazy ideas, and where to begin again if you're feeling stuck.

Topics include: Explore the crazy ideas • Repeat yourself • Overcoming creative block • Question your eureka moments • A typical work day


Sometimes the best ideas begin as the craziest ideas. Frank shares a few of his tips for exploring the crazy ideas, and where to begin again if you're feeling stuck.

Topics include: Explore the crazy ideas • Repeat yourself • Overcoming creative block • Question your eureka moments • A typical work day

Frank Gehry

Teaches Design and Architecture

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From jazz, the greatest thing I've heard anybody say is Wayne Shorter who said, you can't rehearse what you ain't invented yet. And it's so true because the creative process is when you're doing a building, you're trying to pull it out of somewhere. And it's like jazz, you respond, and you work intuitively to create something. And it evolves. And often it just starts to appear, like you don't know where it's coming from. And you go with it, you trust it, you leave-- you don't leave it. You don't over think it. You just go with it, and it takes you somewhere. It's a great experience when you're finished you look at it, you say, where the hell did that come from? How did I get that? God damn it, that's so great, you know? Don't tell anybody I didn't know what I was doing. [LAUGHTER] We had a physics teacher, Joe Noble was his name, in the 11th grade. We would stay after school he, would stay after school, and we would sit and talk about all these kind of things. And he egged us on. We used to fantasize some crazy things, like if you have-- this is crazy, OK? So if you have two trains coming on the track, they're equal size, and they hit each other. What happens? They stop dead, right? So now you have the same one train, and then you have half a train and you hit it, so then this gets pushed that way a little bit. And so as this train gets smaller, and smaller, this train pushes it further, and further. But, they always stop it. So then we wondered if a fly could stop the train taking that logic. Well, we spent months thinking about that. People still remind me and make fun of me from that period. Obviously, a fly can't stop a train. But, we really believed it could back then. I think that's important, just to take the risk of doing something even though you know, oh come on, you're never going to stop-- a fly isn't going to stop a train. But, let's see how big a thing has to be to stop the train. Where is the line? And then, what can you do with that information? So there are similarities when you project images. Like now we're doing a house with a brick facade. The brick doesn't hit the ground, it's in suspension. That's stupid to do that because a brick is heavy, you shouldn't do that. So we were going to kill it, we weren't going to do it. And then, I couldn't get it out of my mind, I couldn't stop. So now the house is being designed, and the client loves it so far. And, it's working, we're making it work. Create the logic for it as you go, and it's like doing something with brick that hasn't been done, I don't think. Why do it, though? Why would you do that. Why pursue it? Why? Because it goes back to this background for humanity. It's background for living. It's-- It's a different kind of expression and it gives a different stage set, if you will. And, brick ...

Create the extraordinary

At 19 years old, Frank Gehry was a truck driver taking sculpture classes at night school. His vision for what architecture could accomplish went on to reshape our cities’ skylines and the imaginations of artists and designers around the world. In his online architecture class, this master builder invites you into his never-before-seen model archive for a look into his creative process.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I'm ready now to design my vision. I have the land & now the wisdom to know it can be done! Excellent class!

Enjoyed this class. Started out slowly for me, but half way through I found it picked up the pace. Enjoyed the more technical examples and explanations. For anyone in the building industry, this is an ideal master class.

fascinating. Thank you Frank Gehry, a bigger fan now more than ever.

So much to learn from Frank Gehry - elegant thoughts, penetrating reflections and resonating advice. You dont have to work in the architectural design space to appreciate his reflections on finding and harnessing creativity; working with people and the importance of trusting yourself...


George B.

Gehry goes through everything a painter goes through, architecture is just as pure an art form as painting, it requires a creative mind, experienced in design.

A fellow student

I loved it, his ideas and approach are so relevant and transferable to so many different areas and walks of life. I'd love to just sit and chat with him and have him build me a house!

Graeme R.

So honest! I love Frank Gehry. Anyone can learn from his wisdom, not just architects.


I saw this building at Canada and I was amazed of how only a few concrete beams were able to hold up this building.

Margaret B.

Frank encompasses the creative process so well with that healthy sense of procrastination and self doubt. His message to push on rather than find space is illuminating.

Margaret C.

What a brilliant, wonderful, humane thinker. I'm so enjoying these engagements.

Masooma A.

The point that Mr. Gehry raised about repeating ourselves and how it's looked down upon, I found it very interesting. I agree that it's definitely something that needs to be thought about in more depth. Also, what he said about the creative block resonated with me especially it's relation with fear of that moment of truth when an artist might have to face the reality of what he created.

Kathryn M.

I love how genuine you are, Mr. Gehry. I am thankful to tears for the important life lessons you are teaching me. Thank you!

Boroka K.

I think repeating yourself can be more of a "experimenting further". You know when there is more where this came from ? Maybe you repeat yourself in parts of what you do, but two things will not be the same when it is tailored to a different need. The new expression gains new meaning, while in its parts is a repetition. If you look at Mother Nature, you see that while we are all unique, 99% of our dna is same same. Even Nature repeats itself :) I just had of those Heureka moments that has to be tested :)))

Boroka K.

It is so reassuring what he says about the process of creating. Like you have no idea where you go, you just trust the process, and there is so much anxiety and fear attached to it. I observed procrastination being a huge part of my process, and thought it only happens to me, that maybe I am weak, or not good enough. Maybe in this process we are just unsure about the direction we are going. Maybe it is normal and must somehow learn to live with it, be curious about it. It is not a profession for the faint hearted. In the process of creating you start to learn about yourself and grow up.